KARACHI: Neem Financial, an embedded finance start-up, said on Tuesday it’s raised $2.5 million in a seed funding round from global and local investors.

Embedded finance companies are technology firms that integrate financial services traditionally offered by banks into the product portfolio of non-financial entities.

Its mission to bring an embedded finance model to Pakistan with a market opportunity of $167 billion has been backed by investors, including SparkLabs Fintech, Arif Habib Ltd, Cordoba Logistics and Ventures Ltd, Taarah Ventures, My Asia VC, Concept Vines, Building Capital, Partners at Outrun Ventures and strategic angels such as CSO of tech house BPC, Founding Partner at Mentors Fund, as well as fin-tech veteran and ex-CEO of Seccl and others.

Neem’s embedded finance platform includes two core offerings — a Banking as a Service (BaaS) platform and a lending platform. The BaaS platform allows partners to embed wallets and payments into their communities as well as offer financial products such as insurance and savings customised to the community’s needs.

Its lending platform allows partners to provide tailored lending products for both consumers and MSMEs.

Neem has been co-founded by Nadeem Shaikh, Vladimira Briestenska and Naeem Zamindar, the statement said.

“We strongly believe in Neem’s ability as a leading embedded finance platform to drive financial inclusion in Pakistan that aligns well with the core values of Arif Habib Group,” the press release quoted Shahid Ali Habib, CEO of Arif Habib Ltd, as saying.

In an earlier interview with Dawn, Cordoba Logistics and Ventures Ltd CEO Misbah Khalil Khan said

Neem provides back-end services and technology support to start-ups offering digital wallets and collects a service fee.

Neem champions a financial wellness model, which includes giving individuals and businesses control through payments, addressing their needs through credit, absorbing their risks through access to insurance and ensuring financial freedom through savings and investments, the statement said.

“We simply have to move beyond providing just access to a bank account,” said Vladimira Briestenska, co-founder at Neem.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, almost 53pc of Pakistan’s adult population and 3.3 million micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) are currently financially excluded. Neem is embedding financial products and services into underbanked communities across diverse sectors, including agriculture, MSMEs, e-commerce, logistics and healthcare, it added.

Deal for frozen meat supply

Al-Shaheer Corporation Ltd told investors on Tuesday it’s signed a business relationship agreement with McDonald’s Pakistan for the supply of beef products through the company’s Lahore frozen food facility.

The company noted that it’s the first-ever Pakistani company to enter into a business relationship agreement of the kind with McDonald’s Pakistan.

“We expect that this agreement will have a positive impact on (the company’s) revenue and profitability, thereby generating returns for our shareholders,” it said.

The share price of the company rose 0.75pc to Rs10.68 apiece on Tuesday.

It posted a loss of Rs104.3m in the quarter ending March 31 versus a profit of Rs17.3m a year ago. However, the company’s turnover increased almost 21pc year-on-year because of the new frozen food business, which was launched during the preceding (October-December) quarter in addition to the “strong growth in institutional sales business”.

The company attributed the net loss in the January-March quarter to the launch of the frozen food segment, which was in the “initial phases of its business cycle” and thus showed “operational losses”.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2022

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